GD Alumni’s latest game… Dexter!

I would like to take a few minutes of your time today to introduce a game project that I worked on and which is currently available in soft launch in Canada.

Dexter: Hidden Darkness (https://www.facebook.com/DexterHiddenDarkness) is a new Hidden Object game based on the universe of the Dexter TV series. It is a great partnership venture between CBS, Showtime, Michael C. Hall and BlooBuzz (https://www.facebook.com/StudiosBlooBuzz).

A team of 40 people worked an entire year on the project. I joined as a Game Designer at the beginning of 2015 and I really enjoyed my experience in the Social/Mobile game industry. After the Canadian soft launch on iOS, we plan to release the game worldwide and then distribute it on Android and Facebook. It is a F2P, so feel free to give it a try!

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Graduation & Awards for the FIRST Class of Programming for Games, Web, & Mobile

Spring has sprung at VFS! and what better way to recognize Spring than by celebrating the graduation of the first batch of students from VFS’ NEW Program. The FIRST class of Programming for Games, Web, & Mobile graduated on February 26th.

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Brian Wood Memorial Internship goes to… Cameron White

 

Congratulations to VFS Game Design alumni Cameron White (pictured here with Game Director, Phil Boulle of Relic Entertainment/Sega)! Cameronwas selected for the Brian Wood Memorial Internship with Relic Games!

The Brian Wood Memorial Internship was founded by VFS Game Design and Relic Games in memory of the late Brian Wood, who was Relic’s Company of Heroes Online lead designer. Three Game Design students a year are offered the scholarship for a period of four months. The inaugural internship was awarded in February 2011, to Zach Williams. Other winners have included: Andres MolinaMaxwell Hannaman, Isaac Calon, Alex Mueller, Carolina Mastretta, Andy Fedorchuk, James Dodge,  Guerric Haché, and Dustin Williamson.

Cameron White, our first winner for 2015, graduated from the Game Design program on December 18, 2014. His graduating game project, Stick Shift, which he developed in collaboration with fellow students Erich Kohlweg, Nick Jennings, Dylan Matthews and Matthew Kirby, can be found here on the Arcade Games page.

 

A Conversation with… Kevin Maloney

This time A Conversation with… tracked down Kevin Maloney, from our 12th graduating class, at Harebrained Schemes in Seattle.

  • Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry

These days I am a Game Designer here at Harebrained Schemes in the greater Seattle area and have been on Shadowrun the whole time. I’m kind of an all season radial in our smallish shop. I was brought on as a Level Designer for our first kickstarted project “Shadowrun Returns”. I started with making content but as time went by I found plenty more things to keep me busy. So beyond taking levels from concept to ship, I design features, script AI and along with a few other folks get to pitch in on the narrative side of things as well.
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Student Endeavours: GD23′s The Last Phoenix on Kickstarter!

Back in July of 2012 five students (David Dryden, Ian MacGregor, Rishi Patkar, Marc St-Onge, and Jay Zhou) finished off their final project “The Last Phoenix”: the crown jewel of their year at VFS, but little did they know that this would just be the start of their journey.

“It was a tremendously visually impressive game, with unique mechanics, and a huge expressive world. Also they were the first group to pioneer with advanced shader techniques at VFS”
- Chris Mitchell: Game Design Instructor

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On the Level with Elliott Walton and Braden Bahen

We have a special holiday edition of On the Level where I had a chance to talk with not one but two former Game Design graduates, Elliott Walton of GD14 and Braden Bahen of GD09. Both of whom recently released Assassin’s Creed: Rogue working as Level Designers at Ubisoft Quebec.

Is it nerve-racking to be working on an existing franchise with such a large established fan base?

Elliott Walton: Absolutely! That being said I don’t personally tend to concentrate too much on those aspects during production and instead just focus on creating interesting gameplay and situations to put the player into. We usually have an overarching storyline to pay attention to that spans multiple titles, but one thing I love about working on the franchise is the excitement of presenting the next location and characters. For me it keeps things fresh and interesting. Of course we will always have to work with constraints but that can really be said about any title whether it is a new IP or a very established franchise such as Assassin’s Creed.  That being said, announcement dates and release dates are always exciting and nerve racking for me.

Braden Bahen: Yes and no. You certainly can feel the pressure online from the fans to provide them with the best Assassin’s Creed game possible. AC fans are an intelligent bunch who want to experience great stories and interesting historic periods inside a rewarding game. They are also vocal about what they love and what they hate in games. The pressure can sometimes get to you and you can get frustrated but its part of the job, frankly.

I frequently check out /r/assassinscreed and read through it to get a sense of what the really passionate fans have to say at the moment. There are often lots of good points I agree with and lots of good points I disagree with but you can’t please everyone.  At the end of the day we all want to make the best game possible and that’s what keeps us pushing on.
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Graduation and Awards show for the 37th class of Game Design

It’s Christmastime at VFS, and what better reason to celebrate than Graduation. Our 37th class of Game Design graduated on December 18th.

It all begins with speeches from the Head of the Department, Dave Warfield, the class selected student speaker, Nicholas Romeo, and wrapped up with the student selected Instructor, Andrew Laing. Each of them looked back on the last year, and also looked ahead at the great future these alumni have in the Games Industry. Dave’s Christmas poem is included at the end of this article.

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Grad Night for the 36th class of Game Design

It’s Fall in Vancouver, and once again the Game Design program has a reason to celebrate. It’s graduation night, a night to celebrate, to look back on the year, and recognize the amazing things they have done.

The Graduation and Awards show on October 23rd has a mix of parts: one part formal, and one part fun. The formal part of the evening hosted by Tanya Jensenbegan with a congratulatory speech from the Head of Game Design Dave Warfield, then the student-elected class speaker David Milne took us through stories of the past year in Game Design, and finally student selected Instructor speaker Rick Davidson closed the speeches with his advice for the class.

Each of the speakers had some deep insight into what they had just been through, and how to prepare for the coming months, but mostly it was a chance to look back on the year, and look ahead to the bright future this class has. The formalities continued with the handing out of diplomas and the embarrassingly long handshakes that make up that portion of the evening. Congratulations to James, Ian, David, James, and Matthew, all who graduated with honours.

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Brian Wood Memorial Internship goes to… Dustin Williamson

 

Congratulations to VFS Game Design alumni Dustin Williamson (pictured here with Game Director, Phil Boulle of Relic Entertainment/Sega)! Dustin was selected for the Brian Wood Memorial Internship with Relic Games!

The Brian Wood Memorial Internship was founded by VFS Game Design and Relic Games in memory of the late Brian Wood, who was Relic’s Company of Heroes Online lead designer. Three Game Design students a year are offered the scholarship for a period of four months. The inaugural internship was awarded in February 2011, to Zach Williams. Other winners have included: Andres MolinaMaxwell Hannaman, Isaac Calon, Alex Mueller, Carolina Mastretta, Andy Fedorchuk, James Dodge, and Guerric Haché.

Dustin Williamson, our third winner for 2014, graduated from the Game Design program on August 21, 2014. His graduating game project, Lucidity, which he developed in collaboration with fellow students Blake Vetter, Cam Hickey, Matt Holland, and Jamie Thompson, can be found here on the Arcade Games page.

 

A Conversation with… Brad Keys

This week A Conversation with… reaches out to our lucky 13th graduating class, and had a chat with Brad Keys, founder of Rebel Hippo Inc.

  • Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry

I’m the founder of a small game studio called Rebel Hippo Inc. located in Waterloo, Ontario. We are known for creating Lumos, a game services platform. We also create mobile games and help other studios across the country. Most of my time is spent developing with the Unity game engine.

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